College graduates may help expand tax net

Final decision to be made after FBR-Parliamentary Affairs consultations

Irshad Ansari September 24, 2019
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is considering hiring college graduates to collect traders’ data to expand the tax net. According to a document available with The Express Tribune, it has advised the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to consult the federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs on the idea, after which a final decision will be made.

A senior official told The Express Tribune that the idea of using college students to expand the tax net came under consideration in a September 3 federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. The meeting had decided that the FBR should take the idea to the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs to discuss its practicality.

The Cabinet Division has also asked the FBR to submit a progress report on the task as well as a working paper on a pilot project involving data collection of various categories of traders. The college graduates are to be paid for their services. Their performance will be monitored and the more promising ones among them will be assigned survey work of the Bureau of Statistics on a contractual basis.

Sources term this a multipurpose idea. The graduates will be hired immediately after graduation and will work in various public and semi-public organisations on both a contractual and permanent basis. The country’s unemployment rate would thus fall and Pakistan could later export this trained workforce to earn foreign exchange. A reliable database would, therefore, be established which would help expand the tax net and economic activities.

The project would then be extended to other sectors of the economy if the pilot project is successful.

Ministry of Finance and FBR authorities told The Express Tribune that a comprehensive report on the project’s success potential will be prepared after consultations with the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs. The required funds will then be ascertained and a final decision made.


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